Top 8 Black Friday Deals for the Hybrid and EV-Minded

Here are some of the best Black Friday deals we’ve found for people looking for green gifts, car gifts, or green car gifts.

Most cars now offer USB ports for charging your smartphone. But lots of them still only offer one port. Or the port they offer can only charge your phone at slow rates. The iXCC 50 watt car charger can power up five devices at once, at up to 2.4 amps, charging your phones more quickly in the car. It’s now 63 percent off, and just $14.99.

Maybe it’s time for snow tires. Or maybe you’re in the lucky parts of the country that don’t see cold, but you want to save some fuel by switching to low rolling resistance rubber. TireBuyer is offering 10 percent off, free shipping to installers, and there are rebates available of up to $80.

Advance Auto Parts is offering $20 off the ScanGauge II OBD monitor, plus 25-percent off orders over $50 with coupon code BF17. The ScanGauge lets you see what your engine is doing. That can help the DIY mechanic fix problems but also lets the hypermiler monitor real-time fuel economy, throttle position, and see other potentially gas-saving data

TechRabbit is offering a Papago GoSafe 272 full HD dashcam for 50-percent off. For $79.99, record what’s happening around your car. It could help in an insurance claim, or maybe even help you go viral on YouTube.

Get rid of those old and inefficient home appliances. Home Depot is offering up to 40 percent off of energy saving appliances like front load washer dryers, refrigerators, and dishwashers. Plus the more appliances you buy, the more you can save. Up to an extra $500 off.


Commuting by bicycle is great for emissions and your health. But it’s getting cold fast. Under Armour is offering up to 40-percent off of gear to keep you warm. Like these HeatGear men’s leggings for $27.99

A programmable thermostat is a great way to save energy at home. Amazon is offering the Nest learning thermostat for 20 percent off. It will automatically adjust the temperature when you’re not home to save money. Plus this newest version works with Amazon Alexa, so all you have to do is tell your Alexa device to turn the temperature up or down and it’ll do it with the sound of your voice.

BlueIndy is a car share service with a twist. The whole fleet is electric vehicles. You just book, get in, and drive. No insurance, electricity, or maintenance worries. And for Black Friday, a one-year membership is 90 percent off. Just $9.99 a month.

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Volvo Gets Massive Uber Robotaxi Order

A three-year collaboration between Volvo and Uber has just turned into a huge autonomous car order.

Volvo and ride-hailing company Uber have just announced a three-year deal that will see Uber buying up to 24,000 vehicles. The new Volvos will form the beginning of Uber’s autonomous taxi fleet.

The two have been partners in developing self-driving vehicles for nearly three years. That agreement has seen Volvo XC90 crossovers fitted with autonomous driving hardware from Volvo and software from Uber.

The autonomous XC90s have been undergoing on-road testing, giving real rides to real passengers in Arizona, as well as in Pittsburgh.

SEE ALSO: Uber and Volvo To Put Self-Driving SUVs on US Roads by Year-End

The new agreement will be in place from 2019 to 2021. It will see Uber buying Volvos fitted with what the agreement calls all necessary safety, redundancy, and core autonomous driving technologies. Uber will add its own self-drive technologies to the vehicles after it takes delivery. The plan is for level 4 autonomy, or nearly fully autonomous.

What exactly does that mean? Jeff Miller, Uber’s head of automotive alliances, told Automotive News a little bit more about the modifications Uber would complete.

The company won’t change the powertrain but does need to modify the braking and steering systems to increase from level 2 as delivered to level 4 autonomous driving capability.

“Those are two elements that we are making modifications to so the vehicle can operate as a Level 4 autonomous vehicle as opposed to just Level 2 or Level 3,” Miller said. “We also have to embed sensors around the vehicle. In addition to what you see on the roof there are several sensors behind the fascia of the vehicle. We work with Volvo to integrate those changes.”

Uber hasn’t yet announced where it would be setting up a facility to complete the modifications.

Volvo is still planning to continue autonomous development on its own. The company has said that it is still looking for more partners, and would be willing to supply similar vehicles to other ride-hailing companies. It can also apply the technologies to other vehicles like the S90 sedan, V90 wagon, and XC60 crossover that share the XC90’s SPA platform.

Automotive News

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GM CEO Talks EV Profit Plan

GM’s CEO Mary Barra shed some light on the company’s plans for electric vehicle sales and profit.

The plan calls for more new EVs soon, a new platform to cut costs later, and to generate a profit by 2026.

“We are working to provide desirable, obtainable and profitable vehicles that deliver a range of over 300 miles,” Barra said last week at the Barclays 2017 Global Automotive Conference in New York.

The plan starts with four new EVs by 2020. At least two of those are expected to be crossovers, and they’re going to use existing GM platforms. Likely the Bolt EV’s.

In 2021, a new EV platform is scheduled to arrive. That’s the one that will boost sales and could lead to an electric profit. Barra said that the new EV platform is modular, and will be used on at least 11 different vehicles across the GM brand range. GM has previously announced that it is expecting to release 20 EVs total by 2023, which means that the new platform could see 16 vehicles.

SEE ALSO: GM To Build At Least 20 New EV Models By 2023

Those will include big SUVs, sportier cars, and an autonomous vehicle. The platform will have integrated battery cells to make it more flexible and reduce costs. The expected savings from this platform is 30-percent.

It would have a longer range as well. Barra said that the new platform could see vehicles that exceed 300 miles of range. Part of the total cost savings expects battery costs to drop nearly a third, from the $145 per kilowatt-hour for the Bolt EV to less than $100.

Barra said that GM is also planning to expand connected services like OnStar and add marketplaces for users.

GM will still have to overcome battery production capacity issues, range anxiety, and charging network infrastructure in order to further gain customer acceptance. Barra said that GM is looking at partnerships and investments to add charging stations and has good relationships with battery suppliers.

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Senate Tax Plan Keeps EV Credits

The EV tax credit dropped in a proposal by the U.S. House of Representatives could be back, if a plan by the Senate is approved.

Last Thursday, the Senate released a tax reform package that kept the Plug-in Electric Drive Vehicle Credit intact. That’s the up-to $7,500 credit designed to make plug-in hybrid and fully electric vehicles more affordable to more people.

When the House version came out with no more credit, automakers and environmental groups came out loudly lobbying to bring it back. Affordable EVs like the Chevrolet Bolt, Nissan Leaf, and Tesla Model 3 are starting to gather steam in popularity and on sales charts, but removing the credit would move the vehicles out of the budgets of many buyers.

The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, an auto industry lobby group spoke out in a statement.

“There is no question that the potential elimination or phase out of the electric vehicle tax credit will impact the choices of prospective buyers, and make it more challenging for manufacturers to comply with electric vehicle mandates in 10 states,” the statement read.

SEE ALSO: New Bill Could Mean End of Federal EV Incentives

So if the House says no, and the Senate says yes, what happens to the credit? If the two tax plans are approved but different, then they go to a special conference committee. Made up of members of the Senate and House, the committee will work to come to a consensus about the different provisions in the law.

If the plans go to committee with such large differences, then it’s likely that some changes will be made to the tax credit. That could see the amounts change, the requirements change, a purchase price cap, or even establish income thresholds to qualify for the credit.

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Toyota R&D Head Says ICE Dead by 2050

Toyota’s head of R&D predicts that the internal combustion engine will be dead by 2050.

Seigo Kuzumaki, Toyota’s head of advanced research and development and engineering made the prediction, speaking to Autocar.

“We expect that by 2050 we will have reduced CO2 emissions from vehicles by 90 percent compared to the figure in 2010,” said Kuzumaki. “To achieve that from 2040 simple internal combustion engined cars will not be made, but they may be the basis of some hybrid or plug-in hybrid cars.”

Toyota is one of the leaders when it comes to electrification. Almost 43 percent of all electrified vehicles sold around the globe are Toyotas. Most of those cars, though, are hybrids. Toyota’s Prius is the best-selling electrified car in the world.

As emissions regulations become more and more strict, and more and more jurisdictions announce bans on diesel and gasoline cars, the speed of electrification will likely increase. And while some places will make the move more slowly than others, Kuzumaki believes that any combustion engines made after 2040 will be hybrids or plug-in hybrid systems because of the new regulations.

SEE ALSO: Toyota Looking Into North American Suppliers For New EV Lineup

A prediction of just 10 percent of cars being hybrids means lots of EVs. That’s an area where Toyota is currently lacking. The company is working on a family of electric vehicles expected around 2020. The early cars will likely use lithium-ion batteries, but reports circulated earlier this summer that Toyota was developing solid-state batteries and would likely have them production ready by 2022.

Those new-tech batteries allow for faster charging, with an energy density 2.5 times that of a lithium-ion battery. They’re smaller and safer and provide better performance. That makes them a key breakthrough in EV technology.

Kuzumaki expects Toyota to be ahead of the curve when it comes to solid-state battery adoption.

“We hold more patents on solid-state batteries than any other company,” said Kuzumaki. “We are getting close to developing cars using the technology, and we believe that we will be ahead of our rivals in achieving that.”

Autocar

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Fisker Announces Solid State Battery Patent

Electric car maker Fisker has just announced a new patent on better batteries.

The new patent is for a solid-state battery technology. The new type of battery promises more energy density than lithium-ion cells, as well as better cold temperature operation and the ability to charge much more quickly.

Fisker says that its own battery will offer two-and-a-half times the energy density of the company’s current battery design, and that would make its car capable of 500 miles range. The company said that the new battery could charge in as little as a minute. That claim is in line with what other solid-state battery pioneers, including Satki3, have said. Satki3 is a solid-state battery company based in Michigan but owned by vacuum company turned potential automaker Dyson.

SEE ALSO: Toyota To Reportedly Launch Long-Range EV in 2022 With Much Better Battery Than Today’s Teslas

Solid state batteries offer other advantages to lithium-ion, such as lower cost and a reduced risk of fire or explosion. The construction of the battery offers more surface area for the electrode which is part of why it can better handle cold temperatures and quick charging. Solid-state batteries also avoid issues with delamination of the electrode, and lithium deposits causing reduced battery life. They use a solid electrolyte, instead of the liquid used in conventional batteries.

Fisker is planning to display the new battery at the Consumer Electronics Show in January. The battery will share the stage with Fisker’s nearly-ready EMotion electric car, although that model will still use a more conventional battery. Fisker is taking deposits now on the EMotion, which it said will have a 400 mile range.

Fisker isn’t the first to work toward a solid-state battery pack. Toyota has also said that it has a solid-state battery that is expected to hit production in an electric vehicle by the early to mid 2020s.

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Plug-In Tiguan Not US Bound, but VW has Other Tricks On Way

Volkswagen is planning to sell a plug-in hybrid version of the Tiguan, but it won’t be coming to America.

With Volkswagen’s move from diesel to electric underway, the company has said it will add five battery electric vehicles and 48-volt hybrids, but it isn’t planning to sell any plug-in hybrid cars or SUVs in North America. The company still hasn’t decided if it will sell plug-hybrids at home in Germany, either.

Speaking directly about the Tiguan, which was shown as a hybrid in concept form, Volkswagen brand CEO Herbert Diess told Car and Driver about the hybrid plans.

“For America, plug-in hybrids don’t make a lot of sense for the upstream emissions, and they’re just not incentivized by the tax schemes,” he said.

But what about selling them in Europe?

“Not yet decided… We have time to decide. Plug-ins don’t make a lot of sense for us in America – decided. They might make sense for us in Europe – not decided. They make sense in China – decided” said Diess.

That means that the plug-in hybrid will be only for China. And maybe in Europe. But primarily for the Chinese market.

Volkswagen is hedging its electronic bets on a new MEB platform. It’s designed for battery-electric vehicles and is designed to span segments. The same as the MQB platform for internal combustion cars ranges from the tiny Polo to the big SUV Atlas.

SEE ALSO: Volkswagen Gives Green Light To I.D. Buzz Microbus Production

That platform will be the bones of the five planned battery-electric VW’s, plus more from the company’s other brands. Diess thinks that VW’s EVs will be profitable from launch.

“You always have in your product range more profitable cars and less profitable cars. We will already achieve with the first car the same profit range we achieve with the Polo. I think that’s okay. That’s not great, but it’s okay. That includes the sunk investment,” Diess said.

How will it manage the quick trip to profit when other automakers have struggled?

“We have big volumes now, and we are going toward one and a half and two million cars a year off that electric platform. That makes a lot of sense to have a specific electric architecture. The economies of scale are really getting thin up there, and you can really unleash the potential of the electric cars,” Diess said.

Volkswagen is also expecting solid state batteries by 2024 or 2025. Diess called them safer in crashes, and with a 15 percent or so higher energy density. The current MEB platform is already set for those new batteries, Diess said.

Diess still has some tricks up his sleeve with the upcoming electric VWs as well.

“The big revolution comes with the cars becoming updatable and upgradable. When we have the operational system in the car, you will receive an update to your system every year or so,” he said, adding that “we think differently [than] Tesla. We think we can do it together with our dealers and share the data to provide even better service.

Car and Driver

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Electric School Bus Offerings Vie to be Teacher’s Pet

Daimler’s Thomas Built Buses has just revealed their first electric bus, and it arrives as more districts are making the jump to electric transport.

The Saf-T-liner C2 Electric Bus official name is a bit of a mouthful. So Thomas gave it a more kid-friendly name. Jouley, named for the unit of energy the joule.

The new bus has a 100-mile range thanks to a 160 kilowatt-hour battery pack. If that’s not enough, optional packs are available for a longer range. Jouley uses Daimler’s electric vehicle resources to add zero-emission power to a traditional 81 seat bus.

Thomas expects production to start in 2019. The announcement comes just two days after competitor IC bus announced an electric bus of its own. The IC Electric Bus ChargE was developed in a partnership with Volkswagen Truck and Bus. IC Bus is part of Navistar.

That bus offers a 120-mile range, although battery specs weren’t given. It too is expected to arrive at playgrounds in 2019.

Blue Bird bus introduced a similar vehicle this summer, that hopes to start production next year.

But the electric school bus is already alive and well. Companies like Lion Bus have electric buses hauling students every day.

SEE ALSO: City of Montreal Adds Three All-Electric Transit Buses

The eLion is in service in several districts in Canada and has also made it to California. It drops the diesel engine for a motor with up to five battery packs. Three packs gives the bus a 50-mile range, five offers up to 100. The 19.2 kilowatt charger can charge the three-pack bus in under four hours. It does still use an auxiliary diesel heater for cold winter mornings, but the cost and emissions of the powertrain are still greatly reduced.

Lion’s electric school buses are now in trials with school districts in Minnesota, Massachusetts, and California. In the latter state, up to a $95,000 rebate is available to help schools go green. School districts in Sacramento were expected to have nearly 30 electric buses in their fleet by the end of this year.

California is making the biggest pushes in the move to electric buses. There, nearly $10 million is available as part of the Rural School Bus Pilot Project. The funding comes from Calfornia’s cap and trade emissions revenue.

Electrification works well for school buses. Rather than the full day’s driving that transit buses generally endure, school buses generally only drive one or two short routes, twice daily. That leaves lots of time in the middle to power up.

With more players in the market and trials growing, it looks like the days of students choking on exhaust at the back of the bus could be over.

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First US Autonomous Shuttle in Collision on First Day

An autonomous shuttle operating in Las Vegas has gotten off to a shaky start.

The fully autonomous and electric shuttle was the first to operate on a public street in the U.S. Yesterday was the first day of service for the shuttle, operating on a short route in downtown Las Vegas.

Unfortunately, the service got off to a rocky start. The shuttle, named Arma was struck by a delivery truck. The truck was reversing into a loading dock, but the driver of the truck couldn’t see the shuttle. According to the City of Las Vegas, the shuttle did exactly what it was supposed to do. The sensors registered the possibility of a collision, and the shuttle stopped.

SEE ALSO: Self-Driving Electric Shuttle Bus Testing In Las Vegas

The delivery truck, though, didn’t. It grazed the fender of the shuttle, causing damage. The driver of the truck was cited for the collision.

The shuttle will remain out of service for the rest of the day.

The Las Vegas shuttle is designed and built by a French company called Navya, and has lidar, GPS, and camera sensors. It seats eight passengers and does have an attendant in case of an incident. During the AAA-sponsored test, Navya and AAA will monitor how the riders respond to a driverless vehicle. They will also examine how pedestrians, cyclists, and other cars react to it. The shuttle underwent testing in the city earlier this year.

The shuttle covers a 0.6-mile loop in the Innovation District of downtown Las Vegas. It offers free rides to let people experience autonomous transportation for the first time.

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Elegant Modified Model S Bows at SEMA

This modified Tesla Model S looks amazing, and it might even help boost range on hot days.

The Zero to 60 designs Model S caught our eye after it debuted at the SEMA show last week. That’s the aftermarket and performance car and part show that happens every year in Las Vegas.

The one-off Model S P100D looks smooth and stunning with the Zero TS designed body kit. But unlike most body kits, which are obvious from a mile away, this one looks like it came from the factory. The Model S gets a new front bumper that completely alters the look of the nose.

There are sleeker curves and softer edges. Of course, there are carbon fiber inserts and accents too. There’s a more pronounced cut behind the front wheels that leads the eye to the slightly more prominent and accented side skirts.

SEE ALSO: German Tuner Introduces Carbon Body Kit for Tesla Model X

At the rear, the new bumper has a more pronounced diffuser as well as blacked out chrome and tinted taillights.

It also gets a $40,000 paint job. The beautiful PPG dolphin grey paint sets off the kit and is protected by Solar Gard’s Clearshield Pro Hydro top coat.

This Model S wasn’t built just to show off the skills of Zero TS, it was to show off Solar Gard’s paint and glass coatings. The paint coating has self-healing properties and will resist light scratches and damage.

That custom quilted red leather interior is protected by Solar Gard’s LX series window film. The company said that the clear film is the world’s most heat-rejecting film. It can block up to 65 percent of solar heat. And that’s the neat feature. Running the air conditioning in your electric vehicle sucks down battery power. Block more than half of the heat coming in and you can use the AC less frequently and at a lower setting. And that can help lower the range drain from the sun’s rays.

If you want this kit for your own Tesla, Zero to 60 designs said that it will go on sale shortly.

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Canadian Grocer Electrifies Fleet

One of the biggest grocery store chains in Canada is electrifying its truck fleet.

Loblaw Companies operates more than 2,000 stores in Canada, primarily under the Loblaws and Superstore brands, but also runs more than two dozen grocery brands across the country. The company made a commitment last Friday to electrify its fleet of trucks. That’s part of a goal to cut carbon emissions by 30 percent by 2030.

Federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna was on hand for the announcement and hopped into the first of the new fleet of 53-foot fully electric delivery trucks.

McKenna talked about Canada’s commitment to meeting Paris Agreement climate goals, and the country’s own efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 30 percent under 2005 levels by 2020.

“We have a target. It’s not a target that the federal government has to meet. It’s a target we all have to meet as a country and we’re all part of it. The fact that Loblaws has stepped up… is a really great step. For everyone who is thinking about this, please do the same,” McKenna said.

The first electric delivery truck is a real big rig. A Class 8 truck with a gross combined weight rating (truck, trailer, and cargo) of up to 120,000 lbs.

SEE ALSO: Daimler Beats Tesla To Electric Truck Market With UPS As First Client

The BYD T9 truck is all-electric powered. For now, it will be used primarily for local hauling. The 188 kilowatt hour battery gives a 92-mile range, but with a top speed of just 56 miles per hour. It uses two electric motors to produce 482 horsepower and 2,212 pound-feet of torque. The range keeps it operating close to home, not long-haul operations. It’s still a big step for the Canadian transport fleet.

BYD is better known for its electric transit buses but makes a series of electric big rigs as well as smaller yard tractors used to move trailers around a warehouse facility.

Loblaws Senior VP Bob Chant announced the commitment.

“We’re committed to be part of the solution. We’re not waiting to be told to do something,” Chant said.

Loblaws said that they will put more of the trucks into its fleet. It is also planning to lower emissions from electricity by 35 percent and from refrigerants by 50 percent.

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A Very Close Look at the Tesla Model 3

This might be the closest look you’ll get at a Model 3 without having one in your driveway.

Details and close looks at the Telsa Model 3 are still pretty rare. Sure there are some photos, thousands of forum posts, and even a few first drives, but none of them go really in-depth into the first real volume model from Tesla.

A new video from the Model 3 Owners Club on YouTube gives you that in-depth look. And we mean really in depth. It starts with the height from the ground to the front lip, and gets more detailed from there, as they explore the car and answer questions from their fans.

The video shows the all LED lights, and how they work. The wiper-mounted washer sprayers? They’ll show you that. Even where they believe the roof rack attachments to be.

SEE ALSO: Tesla Model 3 Volume Production is Late, But On Its Way

Some of the neat features include strut-type hinges for the trunk. That means it makes better use of the 15.0 cubic feet of space than the more common goose-neck hinge. Fold down the rear seats, and a five-foot, ten-inch passenger can lie down without hitting the front seats. Which is a strange thing to do, but it’s their video.

Good news for people in front-plate states, too. The front plate bracket is adhesive, so you won’t need to drill holes in your front bumper.

The video even looks at performance and acceleration.

If you want a very close look at the Model 3, this is it. Extremely close. As in, “here are multiple long shots of the door hinges”. It’s a pretty cool look at one of the most eagerly anticipated cars of the year.

So if you’re interested in every detail of an actual Model 3, check out this video. But set aside some time, it’s well over an hour long.

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New Study: Electrified Cars Half of Global Auto Market by 2030

Electrified cars could make up more than half of the global auto market by 2030, according to a new study.

The new study by the Boston Consulting Group found that a combination of evolving technology, regulatory pressure, and reduced cost of ownership will all play into electrified vehicles reaching a tipping point.

The researchers found also that battery costs have been declining at a rate of 20 percent annually, since 2009. That means that the cost of electric vehicles should become cost-effective for consumers without a subsidy between 2025 and 2030.

Until that time, though, the study says that regulation will continue to drive electrification. That includes bans of fossil fuel vehicles as well as providing incentives for EV purchases.

BCG found that electrification will take on different forms around the globe. It said that the U.S. would be largely mild hybrids and battery-powered EVs. In China and the EU, electrification would be primarily EVs. In Japan, and much of the rest of the world, it would be mostly mild and full hybrids.

In calculating the data, BCG assumed that batteries would lower from $150 per cell to $90 and that oil would remain near $60 per barrel. Government incentives were not included, but current regulations regarding carbon reductions were expected to remain in place. Changes to current incentives like the proposal to remove the $7,500 federal tax rebate shouldn’t slow the adoption rate, but keeping the incentive would likely speed it up.

“The prospects for electric vehicles are now clarifying,” said Xavier Mosquet, lead author of the study. “The transition period from an ICE-dominated marketplace to a market in which electrified vehicles grow share…is about to commence.”

SEE ALSO: Big Oil Makes Big Increase on EV Forecasts

Increased autonomous ride sharing plays a big part in the transition as well. The study expects ride sharing to account for nearly 20 percent of EV sales in the U.S. by 2030, and around 8 percent worldwide.

Note, though, that the study says electrified vehicles hitting 50 percent. Not just battery-powered vehicles. That means micro and mild hybrids will make up the numbers as well. Fully electric vehicles are still expected to make great inroads, but aren’t likely to jump from less than one percent of the market now to quite those great heights. Gains will still be impressive, though. The study estimates that 6 percent of new vehicles will be full-electric by 2025, and 14 percent by 2030. Hybrid vehicles make up around five percent of the global auto market today.

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New Bill Could Mean End of Federal EV Incentives

Changes to a new tax bill could mean the end of federal EV tax credits, months or even years earlier than expected.

Current law gives up to $7,500 per vehicle in tax credit for buyers who choose a plug-in electrified vehicle. It’s a big incentive for anyone looking at purchasing a plug-in car, and helps to bridge the gap between its higher cost versus a gas car.

The credit was not expected to go on forever, just for long enough to allow automakers to make EVs more affordable as technology and manufacturing caught up. Availability of the full credit was limited to the first 200,000 vehicles from each manufacturer. Once that number was reached, the cap would slowly phase out, over a little more than a year.

No manufacturer had yet hit the 200,000 car cap but estimates suggested that both GM and Tesla could hit the cap late next year, with Tesla’s pace hinging on how the Model 3 rollout progressed. Other automakers, like Nissan Ford, and BMW were looking at 2019 or 2020.

Now, House Republicans are proposing to eliminate the credit, sharply and quickly. The new tax bill from the House Ways and Means Committee would end the tax credit at the end of the 2017 tax year.

“My assumption was based on the text that we have, in order to make this as simple as possible it was going to be immediate,” said Republican Mike Bishop of Michigan, a member of the committee that wrote the bill.

SEE ALSO: Could the End of Federal Tax Credits Mean The Death of America’s EV Market?

Ending the credit could be devastating to EV sales. Look at the state of Georgia, which dropped a $5,000 credit and saw sales drop from 1,400 a month to fewer than 100.

The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers is a trade group that represents most of the major automakers. It is worried about how automakers will meet the EV sales quotas imposed in California and 10 other states without federal assistance.

“There is no question that the elimination of the federal electric vehicle tax credit will impact the choices of prospective buyers and make the electric vehicle mandate in 10 states – about a third of the market – even more difficult to meet,” said spokeswoman Gloria Bergquist.

Environmental groups are not happy with the move either. The Natural Resources Defense Council fears the increase in pollution as well as the loss of progress the U.S. has already made toward EV leadership.

“The EV tax credit repeal would cede US leadership in clean vehicles, putting our companies at a competitive disadvantage and threatening jobs while costing drivers more at the pump and increasing pollution,” said Luke Tonachel, director of the NRDC’s Clean Vehicles and Fuels Project.

Not all legislators are happy with the bill either. Michigan Democrat Senator Debbie Stabenow, who is on the committee writing the Senate’s own tax bill, said the bill was not good for Americans.

“In so many ways this is a shell game that when it ends hurts a lot of jobs in Michigan and middle-class families and the benefits go to the wealthiest Americans,” she said, adding that “it’s not a good deal.”

The move would likely impact Tesla more than it would automakers like GM and Volkswagen. Tesla’s Model 3 has already been significantly delayed, and the low-cost EV is seen as more dependent on tax credits than the higher priced Model S and Model X. On a lower cost EV like Chevrolet’s Bolt, or the Tesla Model 3, the federal tax credit can reduce the cost to consumers by up to 20 percent. When it comes to the more expensive Model S, the impact is under 10 percent.

Larger automakers that have made massive investments into electrification have higher volumes and profits from sales of combustion engine cars and trucks that can help dampen the costs of selling EVs at a loss, and fund further EV development and sales.

The bill still has to pass a vote in the House, and the Senate is working on its own tax reform measures.

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High-Emission Power for EVs Still Lower Carbon Than Diesel

A new study shows that even electricity generated from fossil fuels powers EVs that are cleaner than diesel cars.

The new study is from the European Federation for Transport and Environment, known as Transport and Environment, and was conducted by VUB university in Brussels, Belgium. Transport and Environment is a group of organizations working to promote transportation policy based on environmentally stable development.

The study looked at diesel car emissions compared with emissions from electric vehicles, over the lifecycle of the car. That includes generating the power, building the car, and even manufacturing the battery. It’s intended to give a better picture of how the two types of vehicles perform when it comes to CO2.

SEE ALSO: Why An Electric Car Is Greener Cradle to Grave

Since the various countries in the European Union all generate electricity differently, the study looked at the best, the worst, and the average. The study started with Poland, which generates only around 12 percent of its power from renewable resources, with the remainder from fossil fuels. At the other end of the carbon spectrum was Sweden, which gets 83 percent of its electricity from nuclear or hydro-electric sources.

In the study, the diesel car emitted the equivalent of 206.1 grams of CO2 per kilometre. An electric car charging in Poland emitted 25 percent less carbon dioxide per km. And that includes the CO2 from building both vehicles and the EV’s battery.

Charge that car in Sweden, and the results are even lower carbon emissions. An electric car charged in that country has emissions that are 85 percent lower than the diesel. The equivalent of just 33.1 g/km.

“Today an electric vehicle driving on Polish electricity – the most carbon intensive in the EU – still has a lower impact on the climate than a new diesel car,” said Yoann Le Petit, clean vehicles officer for Transport and Environment.

Further research from Transport and Environment showed that a lack of critical metals needed for batteries, like cobalt and lithium, won’t hold back the transition to electric vehicles. But the group did say that extraction of the metals should be held to a high standard to deal with environmental and social impacts of mining.

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Fix Approved for 40,000 More TDI V6 Models

Regulators have approved a fix for nearly 40,000 Volkswagen group vehicles with 3.0L TDI engines in the U.S.

The approval covers 2013-2016 Porsche Cayenne and Volkswagen Touareg models, as well as 2013-2015 Audi Q7 crossovers that were involved in VW’s diesel emissions scandal.

Getting an approved fix is big news for Volkswagen. The company had agreed to buy back nearly 80,000 of the crossovers if they couldn’t be repaired. That would have seen VW pay up to $4.04 billion to buy them back.

The automaker will still have to pay between $8,500 and $17,000 each to owners who get the fix, but that represents significant savings over having to buy back the vehicles and possibly not being able to resell them.

SEE ALSO: What Volkswagen’s ‘Dieselgate’ Is, and Why it Matters

Some of the affected SUVs will need a hardware and software fixes, but the newest models only need software changes.

This doesn’t cover all of Volkswagen’s 3.0L diesel engines though. There are still around 20,000 older vehicles that need a fix. Volkswagen said that it is working with regulators to get fixes for the rest of the dieselgate affected vehicles.

The total diesel emissions scandal bill for Volkswagen in the U.S is now around $30 billion.

Volkswagen has already approved fixes for more than 400,000 affected TDI models in the U.S., but most of those were 2.0L TDI models.

In an effort to repair the company’s image, Volkswagen is charging full-on into electrifying its lineup. The company is currently planning to introduce more than 20 new electrified models by 2020.

 

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Tesla Looking at Electric Mobile Service Trucks

Tesla is planning an electric service vehicle, according to a company executive.

The new service vehicles would be based on the Model X, or even the Model S, and would replace the conventional trucks the company is currently using to provide mobile service.

Tesla’s President of Global Sales and Services, Jon McNeill, told owners about the plan at an event in Amsterdam this week. The information was relayed by owners attending the event to Electrek.

“We didn’t think that it was very cool to show up to fix an electric vehicle with a combustion engine van. It really bugged us. Some really savvy technicians on our team figured out how to retrofit Model X to fit all the tooling and parts needed to do service,” McNeill said.

SEE ALSO: Tesla Owners Unhappy With Delays At Service Centers

McNeill added that the company had figured out how to put the same gear into a Model S. But the end result won’t be just a Model S with some Tetris-like packaging efficiency. After all, the current service vans are full-size vans like the Mercedes Sprinter. They hold tire mounting and balancing equipment, spare parts, and large tool kits.

The changes required to make the Model S a Model S-ervice are extensive enough that the modified vehicles will need approval for public roads. That means that they are largely a whole new vehicle on the same platform. Approval is expected to happen next year.

Telsa has already said that it is planning to triple service capacity by adding 1,400 new techs, 350 mobile service vehicles, and the ability to schedule service from in the car. The current service vans can handle up to 80 percent of maintenance and service needs for Tesla’s current cars. Even recall fixes can be handled via the mobile techs. As Tesla looks to expand their sales and expand their footprint, having more service centers and more mobile technicians becomes increasingly important.

Electrek

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Toshiba Introduces New Ultra-Fast-Charge Battery

Toshiba is charging up with next-generation battery tech that takes more charge faster, even in the cold.

The company is touting a new lithium-ion battery technology that it says can double the capacity of the anode. That means better energy density and faster charging. How much faster? Toshiba said that a 200 mile charge (32 kilowatt hours) in six minutes is possible. That’s three-times what current batteries can manage.

The new battery uses an anode made from titanium niobium oxide. It is less likely to suffer from lithium metal deposition during ultra-fast charging, as well as during cold-temperature recharging. Lithium metal deposition happens during those charging conditions. Lithium builds up on the anode, forming dendrites. When that happens, the cell loses efficiency and suffers from reduced charging and a lower maximum capacity. It can even lead to a short circuit that could cause thermal runaway and a fire or explosion.

SEE ALSO: Innovative Lithium-Oxygen Battery Tech Could Significantly Increase EV Range

The titanium niobium oxide anode is synthesized and arranged using a new method that allows more efficient storage of ions. Combined, the two features allow for quicker charging, better energy density, and better cold weather life. It is what allows the 320 kWh charging that Toshiba says the battery can handle. That’s close to three times the charge rate of what a Tesla Supercharger can deliver.

Toshiba tested the new technology using 50 amp-hour prototypes that it said have double the energy density of the company’s current SCiB battery. Toshiba said that their test batteries maintained 90 percent of initial capacity even after 5,000 charge/discharge cycles. More importantly, it can still deliver that quick charge as quickly as 10 minutes at just 14 degrees Fahrenheit.

The battery is still in development, but Toshiba said that it hopes to have the new battery ready to go in an electric car for 2019.

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Paris Wants Gas and Diesel Cars Out by 2030

Paris City Hall wants internal combustion engines off its roads, and the city wants it to happen sooner rather than later.

Officials in Paris have announced plans to remove internal combustion engines from the city completely, as soon as 2030. The bold move was announced by Mayor Anne Hidalgo yesterday.

Hidalgo has previously announced plans to ban all diesel cars from the city by 2024, in an effort to reduce air pollution in the city. Paris is hosting the Summer Olympics that year.

Unlike the bans proposed by federal governments, including the one proposed by French President Emmanuel Macron, this ban will affect existing cars and trucks. Only electric vehicles will be allowed into the French capital if the legislation is formally approved.

The city has already gone to great lengths to reduce pollution inside its limits. Any vehicle that is older than 1997 is already banned from operating on city streets between 8 am and 8 pm, Monday to Friday. Diesels registered before the year 2000 are banned completely. All vehicles in Paris must have a window sticker that indicates the emissions band they fall into.

SEE ALSO: Four Major Cities Announce Diesel Ban By 2025

Mayor Hidalgo has also taken criticism for adding hundreds of miles of cycling paths that take roads away from cars, as well as banning traffic from the Champs-Elysees Avenue once a month. To further help encourage Parisians to use alternate transport, she introduced a fleet of rental bicycles and electric cars to encourage residents to leave their internal combustion car at home.

The measures still need to be formally approved before they can take effect. City officials also said that they plan to meet with automakers over the next few months in order to bring them onboard with the target.

City Hall refused to call it a ban, and said that it was not an attack on cars. Just an effort to reduce greenhouse gases and improve air quality in the city.

“The aim is no way formulated as a ‘ban’ by 2030, but as a trajectory which seems both credible and sustainable,” said a statement released by City Hall.

City officials hope that expanding public transit, as well as increased cycling and the rise of electric vehicles, will make the transition a more natural one.

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Bosch Announces New 48-Volt Battery Pack

Bosch is launching a new 48-volt battery it hopes will make it a market leader in the micro hybrid segment.

The 48-volt lithium-ion battery is designed for micro hybrids. It would also be well suited for Audi’s upcoming 48V whole-car electrical system, and a new generation of similar 48V cars and trucks.

Micro hybrids use a smaller battery pack than a full hybrid. They run at lower voltage and have less electrical storage capacity. In vehicles with a micro hybrid system, the system is either used entirely to support the vehicle during start/stop operation. They are capable of some regenerative braking, which helps to allow the generator to run less frequently, saving fuel. Electrical power is never sent directly to the wheels in a micro hybrid.

The micro hybrid’s 48V systems can also be used to power electrical superchargers. Audi uses such a system on the SQ7. Audi doesn’t say specifically how much horsepower is gained from the electric blower, but the but the SQ7’s 4.0L V8 turbodiesel makes 435 horsepower and an astonishing 664 pounds-fee of torque.

Bosch suggests that their new battery and hybrid system could be used to send some of the power recovered from braking back to the wheels. That would make the system operate as a mild hybrid instead of a micro.

Bosch’s battery pack needs no active cooling (like fans or liquid cooling), and is plastic to reduce weight and cost. It is a standardized pack size, much like a conventional battery, which allows easier integration into vehicles. Bosch also designs and sells hybrid powertrain components, and can offer automakers a ready-to-go micro hybrid solution. The package of ready-made components can shorten development times and increase availability across models of the micro hybrid system.

SEE ALSO: So Many Automakers Are Committing To Electrify So Many Of Their Cars

Bosch expects 15 million 48V hybrids on the road by 2025.

Audi was the first automaker to change a vehicle completely to a 48V electrical system, starting with the 2017 SQ7 SUV. Most other automakers currently use a 48-volt system for their micro hybrid components but still use a conventional 12-volt battery to power vehicle systems. Even full EVs like the Tesla Model S or Chevrolet Bolt EV still keep a 12-volt battery to operate systems like the infotainment system and lights.

If 48V batteries become more mainstream, then 48-volt infotainment systems, lighting, and even high-demand comforts like heated seats that warm up faster could become more commonplace. The higher voltage means that thinner wires can be used to connect the vehicle’s systems and that saves weight and cost to automakers.

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